Cameron Kashani is an Iranian-American entrepreneur, the founder of COACCEL, the Human Accelerator, and the co-founder of Coloft, the first co-working space in Los Angeles for technology startups and entrepreneurs. She was featured in Forbes and other magazines as one of the most inspirational women in technology. She earned the title of Godmother of the Silicon Beach, and her enterprise, COACCEL, trained more than 4000 Entrepreneurs and 700 startups to the next level in business. Cam can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter Instagram @CamSKashani or look at her website www.camkashani.com.
Cam was featured as one of the most influential women in technology.
This is my interview with Cam.
Q. Hi Cam, tell us about your story, how did you gain the title of godmother of the Silicon Valley? I was in my 20s when I left a really great job to start a startup. I craved autonomy and creativity. I need to create. I guess this was my first “I want to be an entrepreneur”. But, I had no money no help from anyone. Plus, I didn’t know anyone that was working on a startup. I was alone. Then, I asked myself: “Where are people like me? I can’t be alone. There have to be others.” Then I found out about co-working (co-working is the use of an office or another working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge). Communities are crucial. Being alone on the unpaved path of startup life is not necessary, and you will achieve success with the love and support of the community around you. This is how I created my first company Coloft, community first, enterprise later on.
” Find people like you, your community to share ideas, workspace, knowlegde”
Q: Success is hard work, what are the secrets of success, in your opinion? Mindset is everything. You have to believe in yourself, and be unreasonable in the pursuit. Persistence and resilience are key to making it — you CANNOT give up. Fall seven times stand up eight.
Believe in yourself is key to success. Success is in your mind.
Q: Success also means loads of mistakes and failure, how did you overcome the darkest hours? As I said, I felt really alone at the start. I remember this feeling of isolation, like no one understood my path, no one understood my brain, no one understood why I wouldn’t just get a job. My parents kept telling me to get a job. Totally felt like a failure. I had another crush in my life when I lost Coloft. My co-founder was also my ex-husband and, once I filed for divorce, I was fired from my own company. Overnight I became a single mom with no income and no identity. It was VERY hard rebuilding. It was VERY testing. It was VERY scary. I felt absolutely naked in the Universe. Everything I had identified myself as I no longer was. I was scared and went into a depression. During this time, I met Jasmine, my now business partner. I worked together in such a way that I went from being a zombie in my bed to working as a Speaker with the US State Department and inspiring a nation in Kuwait 9 months later. It was nothing short of miraculous transformation. And that’s when I realized the power of a human being and the power of your mind.
Resilience and support kept me alive during the darkest hours
Q: Statistics show that women are less represented in senior positions because they lack the confidence to put themselves forward for promotions and leadership. Which pieces of advice would you give to them? Get out of your own way. Stand up and speak up. Be your badass powerful self — no one will do it for you. If you need help, get it. Coaching is one the most powerful methods of unleashing your power on the world. Which is exactly why I am a coach, to help women realize their potential. If women walk into a room in their power, their true authentic power, we can move mountains. This is the idea behind my company COACCEL, We work 1-1 with (predominantly female though we believe in humans) founders and leaders to help them transform their lives, break (usually self-created) barriers and become epic badasses in the process. We are now two years in, and the stories that have come out of our work have been nothing short of amazing. I have never felt happier or fulfilled in my life. It took hell to get here but it was worth it. And I am not very grateful for the painful lessons as it made me who I am.
Q: You are a single mum, how do you balance private and working life? I am very mindful of my calendar. I have twin boys that are five years old, and they are amazing so I would like to spend as much time as I can while also building my empire. So I make sure I am home every night for dinner and putting them to bed, I take the school in the mornings, and I block of one weekend day to do something fun with them. I also make sure I never make myself feel guilty when I am working and not with them. That guilt is self-created and does not serve. I am fully present in my work and as a result fully present as a parent.
To summarise: To be successful in life, business, grad school and in anything you can think of, remember:
- Secrets of success are confidence, learning from mistakes, resilience, believe in yourself.
- You are the brand of your business, people trust you before trusting your products.
- Don’t put yourself down and in a negative mindset when you enter a room full of men, don’t label people with gender etiquettes, we all belong to the human race.